Ladies, we have a bone to pick with you! Why do SO many women delegate the home finances to their husband or significant other? We’ve seen a lot of women who don’t feel confident to make their own financial decisions, but don’t worry — we’re guilty of it to. We love money as much as the next guy, we just don’t know that much about our own!
We know how hard it is to get financially savvy, which is why we chatted to Statewide Super’s Head of Financial Planning and Super Money Makeover guru, Lisa Palmer, to give us her top five finance tips for every Adelady.
1. Create specific & realistic goals (both short and long term).
If you don’t know where you are going, how can you measure how well you are doing? Women are usually good at setting goals for other parts of our lives, such as wanting to lose weight.
Finances should be treated the same way. Setting realistic short and long-term money goals will help define what’s important.
So, whether you’re saving for an overseas holiday or for your first home deposit, setting yourself goals will help to keep you accountable and stay on track.
2. Cash is king (know what you spend & set some limits).
In a world where pay wave is the norm it’s easy to forget that you are spending real money as you happily tap away.
Take out the physical cash that you need for the week and you will be surprised how reluctant you are to break a $50 note to pay for your daily coffee.
It’s also worth building a physical cash reserve in a piggy bank, rather than using a credit card, for unexpected expenses.
Depending on how much of your income you need and what other safety measures you have in place (such as income protection). It is best to save one to three months of your salary as a reserve.
This means you can rely less on credit for unexpected expenses and minimise the chance of your debt spiraling.
Finally, going back to my diet analogy, don’t be too hard on yourself. Cutting out carbs from your diet altogether can have you falling off the wagon pretty quickly, however, if you were to cut down instead – it becomes far more sustainable (and far more interesting!).
Money matters are similar, if you cut out the ‘fun’ in your expenditure it won’t feel worth it. Set yourself a challenge, by halving your typical ‘clothes’ expenditure (so rather than spending $200 a month on clothes, spend $100) and try buying second hand clothes. Sites such as ebay (or your local Vinnies) has some amazing and ridiculously low cost designer clothing that has barely been worn.
Also, while you’re at it have a look in your own wardrobe – many women have a number of items that have only been worn once (if at all), could you sell your surplus clothing to kick start your cash reserve?
3. Invest in yourself (now and in the future).
Too often we see women put others first, whether it be their partners, their children, or their parents and forget to nurture their own needs.
Many women will take jobs that suit their families or (quite rightly) allow them to balance their lifestyle needs. However, it’s important to also make time to improve your qualifications (or learn a new skill).
Maintaining or improving on your skills will provide more choice later in life and help you negotiate better conditions with a future employer. Financially, this is the position you want to place yourself in.
I am always heartened to see women in their 30’s and 40’s going to university for the first time, seizing this moment to improve their work opportunities and follow a passion or interest that they never thought they were capable of pursuing.
Unfortunately, with one in three marriages failing in Australia, women need to become more financially self-reliant and savvy. Being more qualified or more rounded in your knowledge and skills, will only provide benefits.
4. Think about your super now (long-term goal setting).
We’ve all heard the frightening stats on super balance differences between females and males. Well, here are a few simple things you can do now to start preparing for your retirement:
Consolidate – Consolidating all of your super accounts into one is a great way to save more for retirement. If you have multiple accounts you are often paying multiple fees which can eat into your balance. Having all your super in one place will also help you keep track of what you have!
Contribute – Add small and manageable amounts regularly. The nature of superannuation means that adding a little now can mean a lot in the future!
Cover yourself – Make sure you check your insurance coverage because you never know when an illness or injury will prevent you from working. Without appropriate cover, a temporary ailment can set you back years through the erosion of your own funds and/or increasing debt to cover your needs.
5. Foster Great Habits in Kids.
Finally, as we see more parents financially assisting their adult children well into their 20’s and 30’s, establishing good money habits early is the key to avoiding becoming the Bank of Mum and Dad when you want to wind back and retire!
Teach your kids the value of money from an early age and consider something as simple as providing age appropriate pocket money for household chores. This shouldn’t just be a toy allowance or ‘savings’ to go into a bank account or piggy bank.
Children should be encouraged to use this money to pay for their ‘wants’, whether it be an ice cream after school or those shoes they MUST have (but don’t need). You will find they are less willing to spend their own money and will no longer feel hungry or concede that their shoes are still ok.
My son needed a black pair of pants for work, which I suggested he should pay for himself. He spent several hours, going from shop to shop to find the cheapest pair (he ended up finding a pair for $10). If I had paid for this, he would’ve purchased the first pair he came across, with no real consideration for how much they cost.
Also resist the urge to help them out when they fall short. Waiting another week (or two) won’t kill them, and most importantly you are teaching the valuable lessons of budgeting through actions.
Establishing good spending and savings habits by adulthood will not only benefit them, but it will also benefit you!
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON STATEWIDE SUPER
Statewide Super is the only industry superannuation fund based in South Australia and open to all Australians, providing financial planning advice directly from its headquarters on Victoria Square.
Statewide Super members are entitled to quality in-house financial planning advice, some of which is included as part of their membership. So, if you’re one of Statewide Super’s 145,531 members, call 1300 65 18 65 and make a time to have your financial health assessed today.
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This is a sponsored post. The information provided contains general advice which does not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation or needs. Before investing, you should consider the appropriateness of this general advice with regard to your personal circumstances. You may also wish to obtain independent financial advice. This blog is not intended to be, and should not be construed in any way as, investment, legal, or personal advice.
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